Friday, June 15, 2012

Quick Hits - June 15, 2012

You're the President of the United States and facing reelection in less than five months.

You're not polling well in the battleground states.  You're losing independents.  You're also losing Hispanic voters.

You're under 50% in job approval.

The economy continues to struggle - less than 2% GDP growth so far this year.  Unemployment is still above 8% despite efforts to cook the books.  Real unemployment is over 15%.  Nearly one out of 2 people (46%) aged 18 to 24 is without a job.  The difference in the unemployment rate between that age group and elders (15%) is the largest since the US started tracking these numbers in 1948.  The median net worth of US families dropped 39% from 2007 to 2010, and young adults have seen a bigger drop (6%) in weekly earnings than any other age group.

Your major address on the economy to reboot your campaign crashed and burned - even progressive media pundits on MSNBC panned it.

Your fundraising efforts, despite attending 2x more fundraisers than your predecessor did, you are not only well behind your 2008 pace, but your opponent raised 25% more than you did last month.  On top of this, the AFL-CIO, one of the largest components of your union base, announces that they will not be providing you with funds for your reelection.

This same union base, just lost badly in the battleground state of Wisconsin, in an effort to recall a successful Republican Governor.  The effort was decisively defeated - and your only sign of support for the recall effort was a tepid tweet done the weekend before the vote.  Not once did you visit the state to campaign for your base.

Your signature legislative achievement is facing being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  Other legislative actions are being blocked by a GOP majority in the House - and your own Senate hasn't passed a budget in over 3 years.  The most the Senate is doing is helping create a 'do-nothing' Congress.

Last year, when under pressure by Hispanics and progressives about your inability to get the Dream Act passed, you said - 
I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It’s just not true…

[W]e live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it. And if all the attention is focused away from the legislative process, then that is going to lead to a constant dead-end. We have to recognize how the system works, and then apply pressure to those places where votes can be gotten and, ultimately, we can get this thing solved. And nobody will be a stronger advocate for making that happen than me.
So, what do you do?

You announce, without consulting Congress and via executive fiat, you have decided to provide a de facto amnesty and immunity to young illegal immigrants in a shameless play for the Hispanic vote.

That is precisely what President Obama did this morning.

As noted by the Washington Post...
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military…

…The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods…

…The extraordinary move comes in an election year in which the Hispanic vote could be critical in swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida. While Obama enjoys support from a majority of Hispanic voters, Latino enthusiasm for the president has been tempered by the slow economic recovery, his inability to win congressional support for a broad overhaul of immigration laws and by his administration’s aggressive deportation policy. Activists opposing his deportation policies last week mounted a hunger strike at an Obama campaign office in Denver, and other protests were planned for this weekend.

With this decision, the President, who a year earlier said that there are laws on the books that he has to enforce, that he cannot, by himself, and change these laws - that the change has to happen via either new legislation or the repeal of the existing legislation, did just that - CHANGE THE LAW BY HIMSELF.

This is not the first time the President has decided to not enforce a law he dislikes. But with his executive order, he has gone beyond not enforcing a constitutional federal law, but he has also decided on his own to change the law.

When you are in the midst of a very bad time which is negatively affecting your reelection effort - instigating a major constitutional crisis is the way to improve one's standing?

Earlier in the morning, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, made the first announcement about the new program.  During her statement, she denied that this was amnesty or immunity, but that 'it's an exercise of discretion'.  She also said that this wasn't amnesty because the new program does not offer a pathway to either citizenship or permanent residency - taking spin and nuance to new levels.

Another kerfuffle erupted over this decision as President Obama made his own statement on the decision from the White House Rose Garden.  There, a reporter from the Daily Caller 'heckled' the President...

During the exchange, a visibly angered President snapped, 'This isn't amnesty, it's the right thing to do...' For whom? You or the country?

With some elements of the MSM, the story was not the President's decision, but the fact that a member of the press asked the President a question. It didn't take long for a deranged MSNBC guest to cry 'racism'....
"This is just so unprecedented and outrageous, that you have to ask the question, would the right-wing be doing this if we had a white president there?" MSNBC guest and Democratic strategist Julian Epstein said on the channel this afternoon.
Unprecedented? What about ABC News Sam Donaldson's heckling of Ronald Reagan? Or Helen Thomas and George W. Bush?

What is unprecedented, Mr. Epstein, is a President unilaterally changing a law via executive fiat. What is unprecedented is a President who unilaterally declares the Senate out of session to recess appoint officials to bypass the 'advise and consent' Senate responsibilities.

The thing is, this should not have come as much of a surprise.  Remember, this is the Administration that is declaring war on any and all efforts within states to enact Voter ID laws.  For him, it's fundamentally less about doing the 'right thing' for 'young' illegal immigrants - and more about how to create a new class of Obama voters for November 2012 to counteract all of the other factors that are working against his reelection.

A small, arrogant, and petty man occupies the White House today...

Yesterday's 'major economic address' designed to 'reboot' his campaign was a complete and epic flop.  Even the usual sycophants in the mainstream media noted how bad this speech was.

MSNBC Analyst Jonathan Alter - 'I thought this, honestly, was one of the least successful speeches I've seen Barack Obama give.' notes more...
Julie Pace, AP, can’t muster more than 8 paragraphs relating to the 54 minute Obama ‘major address’…

and highlights these tweets -

Mike O'Brien@mpoindc
In terms of politics, this speech could have ended about 20 minutes ago. Drive your message, take your ball, go home.
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Obama speech in Ohio felt more lecture or courtroom arg than rally. He streamlined pitch, imbued urgency, said voters will break stalemate.
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Olivier Knox@OKnox
I ask colleague for CQ transcript of Obama speech. Response: "Sure, but it looks like they only have the first 45,000 words."
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Progressive Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote in today's column...
I had high hopes for President Obama’s speech on the economy. But instead of going to Ohio on Thursday with a compelling plan for the future, the president gave Americans a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy.

The falsehood is that he has been serious about cutting government spending. The fallacy is that this election will be some sort of referendum that will break the logjam in Washington.

Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner, hits on one of the biggest problems with the President's economic speech...
What is it with Barack Obama and 27 months? Listen to the president and his aides talk, and you'll soon hear claims that the administration has accomplished great things in the last 27 months…

…The problem, of course, is that Barack Obama has been president for 40 months. So why do he and his supporters speak as if he has only been in the White House for the last 27 -- that is, since March 2010? It's as if the first third of Obama's presidency just doesn't count.

Obviously, the president is trying to make his record look better; his first months in the White House saw devastating job losses and economic misery. Yet most of what Obama accomplished domestically also occurred in that unmentioned period.

In fact, March 2010 just happened to be the month in which the president's signature achievement, the national health care program known as Obamacare, became law.

It came at a time when Americans were desperate for Obama to devote all of his attention to fixing the economy and helping create jobs. What is sometimes forgotten today is that, at the time, the president and his allies in Congress argued that passing Obamacare was, in fact, the most important thing they could do to create jobs…

…In an April 2009 speech at Georgetown University in which he laid out "five pillars" of economic recovery, Obama argued that an economic comeback would be impossible without passing his health care bill. "If we don't invest now in a more affordable health care system," he said, "this economy simply won't grow at the pace it needs to in two or five or 10 years down the road."

Six months later, in October 2009, with health care still consuming the Democratic Congress and his administration, Obama said, "We know that reforming our health insurance system will be a critical step in rebuilding our economy."

Even later, in January 2010, a headline on the website Politico told the story straight out: "Obama: Health bill will create jobs."

The president's Democratic allies were just as vocal. "The key issue in building a sustainable recovery is reform of health care," said Rep. Henry Waxman, then chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee, in March 2009.

"[Obamacare] will create 4 million jobs," then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said nearly a year later, in February 2010. "Four hundred thousand jobs almost immediately."

None of these benefits happened. In fact, when it comes to jobs, York was actually taking it easy on the President's false history...
Well, according to the federal government’s own numbers (published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the employment rate in July 2009, six months after Obama took office, was 59.3 percent. Since then, the employment rate has actually fallen to 58.6 percent — a tally that, except under Obama, we haven’t seen in the past quarter of a century.

In fact, 58.6 percent employment barely exceeds the tally from when President Eisenhower was running for reelection in 1956 — back before millions upon millions of American women entered the workforce.
The RNC wasted little time in striking back to the President's 'major economic address'...

The American Crossroads Super PAC adds this to the pile-on...

More bad economic news welcomed President Obama today, as consumer confidence plunged...
Following misses to expectations in every single economic data point for the past week, not to mention today's Empire Index, Industrial Production, and Capacity Utilization we just got the latest June University of Michigan Consumer Confidence number which, lo and behold, printed at 74.1 on expectations of 77.5, and a plunge from May's 79.3. In brief, this was the biggest miss to expectations since February of 2006.

From Newsbusters, we have the host of NBC's Meet the Press advising the Obama campaign on what the President needs to do...

Appearing on Friday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory advised the Obama campaign on how defeat Mitt Romney: "What the President's got to do is say, 'Hey, don't forget about George W. Bush. Things got really, really bad under him.'"
Question for David Gregory - isn't he already doing that?

Is this a coincidence?

(Image from

Time Magazine's cover for Monday's issue reflects their step into the illegal immigration debate.  Did they get a head's up on this from the WH?  The author is one of the 'heroes' of the media in the fight over illegal immigrants and their interest to strike illegal from their actions to enter, reside, and work inside the United States at the same time as ignoring and breaking its laws.  We are supposed to believe that these are committed Americans - just like the immigrants of past who entered via Ellis Island.  However, we're also supposed to ignore that while those past immigrants honored the US by adhering to its laws, illegal immigrants demonstrate their contempt to the US by having their first act in the US be breaking US law.

The Department of Justice, in between ignoring Congressional subpoena's on Fast and Furious, and suing states over their state laws regarding illegal immigration and voter identification, is now conducting an anti-trust probe in whether Cable TV companies are acting improperly to block or limit competition from online streaming video companies like Netflix and Hulu.

Dutch bank ING has been fined a record $619 million for illegally moving billions of dollars through the US banking system on behalf of Cuban and Iranian clients. The company also threatened employees of the bank with termination if they disclosed the origins of the money.

In 2008, the Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group agreed to pay $536 million, and the UK’s Lloyds Banking Group agreed to pay $350 million to settle similar allegations. In 2010, the UK’s Barclay bank agreed to pay $298 million.

This Day in History

1215 - England's King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta.

1775 - George Washington is appointed head of the Continental Army by the 2nd Continental Congress.

1904 - In one of the worst US maritime disasters, the passenger steamer General Slocum, carrying 1,360 members of a group from St. Marks German Lutheran Church on a pleasure trip on New York City's East River, catches fire. Rather than approaching a nearby dock, the Captain tried to beach the ship on an island in the river. Lifeboats could not be released from their bindings, firefighting tools on board failed to work, and life preservers were filled with non-buoyant materials. In the fire, the panic, and abandoning the ship, 1,031 either burned to death, were trampled to death, or drowned. The Captain was convicted of criminal negligence.

1964 - At a meeting of the National Security Council, McGeorge Bundy, President Lyndon B. Johnson's national security advisor, informs those in attendance that President Johnson has decided to postpone submitting a resolution to Congress asking for authority to wage war.

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